Blog Top Image-Mar-14-2024-08-17-24-8972-PM

Stop Talking and Listen

Our world is constantly moving and it’s moving fast. Whether it’s school or work, or life milestones like graduating, getting married, or having kids, there isn’t a lot of time left over to slow down and listen. To really hear what interesting and intelligent people have to say about their experiences or dreams. Even when we do take the time to get coffee with a friend or dinner with a spouse, how much of that time are we actively listening to what they have to say? 

Active listening is about being fully present and engaged in conversations so we better understand what others are telling us. Active listening is essential for all relationships because we don’t like to spend time with people that don’t listen, or care to listen, to what we have to say. We all have important things to say, and communication is a part of daily life. There is hardly a day in which we don’t talk to at least one person. In a world that moves and talks so often, active listening is essential for getting things done efficiently and effectively, especially in the workplace. 

We all want to be better active listeners, so here are four steps that make conversations with others more meaningful. 


1. Ask Questions

By asking questions, we show other people that we’re interested in what they shared, and that we’re curious to know more or better understand something specific. 

I’ve been told before that friends and colleagues enjoy talking to me because I’m a good listener. Getting that kind of compliment feels good, but it’s because I’ve taken the time to slow down and implement these four steps. In following them, people are more willing to share things with us, feel like we care about what they have to say, and we might become the kinds of people that others look to for reassurance during a big presentation or in room full of people. 

A great way to start hearing what people are trying to tell us, is to stop talking. When someone communicates that they have something they’d like to share, we must learn to stop what we’re doing, communicate that we’re ready to listen, and then stop talking. 

One helpful way to ask questions is to say, “I’m hearing you say … is that what you mean?” When we phrase our questions as a summary with a follow-up, we show that we heard what was just shared with us and we’re interested in better understanding or learning more. 


2. Be Engaged 

We’ve all had experience telling another person something, so we know how important body language is to our speaking. If the people we’re talking to are looking at the floor and crossing their arms, they probably don’t care about what we’re saying, and it doesn’t give us much motivation to continue. That’s why as listeners, it’s important to show the people we’re speaking with that we’re engaged. 

This may look like: 

  • Making eye contact 
  • Smiling 
  • Nodding your head in response  
  • Sitting up straight 


3. Don’t Respond

When having a conversation, it may seem strange to not respond to the other person. However, its more about how we respond. We want to stay engaged for the entirety of our conversations and not think about what we’re going to add or what we’ll say when they finish talking. When we respond right away with something off-topic or personal, the other person might feel like we didn’t really hear what they just told us. It’s okay to take some time to collect our thoughts so we respond intentionally and empathetically. 



One of the best ways to build the authentic human connection that Changemakers thrive on is through active listening: the process of attuning ourselves to the thoughts and feelings that we are listening to. That way, we can respond appropriately and demonstrate to those around us that we are listening and taking what they are saying to heart. Check out our Changemakers Certification Program to learn additional applicable skills, knowledge, and tools you can use right away!


If you’re interested in more practical ways you can become a better listener, consider giving Listening is EESY as PPIE a read. What kinds of things do other people do that make you feel like you’re being listened to? Let us know down below! 


Topics: Sinikka Waugh, Business Skills & Business Acumen, Communication & Collaboration

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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